New York City lowered crime by creating an external image that subconsciously signaled people to stop breaking the law. Simple measures such as scrubbing off or painting over the graffiti in the subway made people feel like they were in a safer environment and they acted accordingly.
This is Malcolm Gladwell's theory from the book "The Tipping Point."
Apple's computers and iPods have become so popular because they are designed to be pleasing on the eye. This design enhances the experience of the music, video or what ever else the device is being used for. The same should be said for the design of office space.
I read an article from Egro Consulting blog and it reinforced my beliefs.
"It was the awe of the building that first captivated us. What I hadn't anticipated was the sense of how the environment invites quality work. One almost feels embarrassed to deliver mediocrity within its walls."
When a company creates a work-friendly atmosphere, through its beautiful designs, it creates a happier work environment.
"Of course it is true that the environment affects the way people work. But if it is so self-evident, why are workplaces environments that inspire so rare? We have certainly lacked imagination on how to organise our office environments."
"Sure, money is a factor, but where there is a creative will, there is a way. I'm not embarrassed to say that we furnished our place mostly from eBay. My suspicion is that managers have considered employees and their environments a cost rather than an asset, and have for the most part have forfeited considerable business value by overseeing very ordinary office environments. I wonder what our workplaces would look like if we embraced the link between inspiring environments and productivity."
If companies put 1/10 of their energy into inspiring their employees, the workplace would be happier and more productive. I believe some of this is being turned around in today's workplace. Bzzagent is creating a work friendly environment that stimulates their employees. They have an artist Seth Minkin who has his art studio in the same office space. His unique artwork is all over the walls and the employees are excited by the environment that he inspires.
What do you think your company could do to improve its environment?